Most people cut to cover an even deeper emotional pain.
There is so much confusion around the horrific addiction of cutting. It’s hard for some people to understand why you, or someone you know, would repeatedly harm them self on purpose. With this blog series, I want to break through the confusion and help those who practice cutting as a way of life. I’ve heard a lot of people say, Why would anyone do such a thing as purposely cause pain to their bodies? So let’s begin to uncover the reasons why so many people cut themselves.
As I have talked with hundreds of cutters, one major reason emerges over and over again: Most people cut themselves to try to cope with an even deeper emotional pain. If you or anybody you know is cutting, please understand cutting is just a cruel symptom of something much deeper and painful going on inside.
An anonymous blogger put it this way: I used to cut because I felt like it was the only way to feel something other than the hurt and confusion and self-hate that was driving me insane. I would cut because I hated myself so much that I wanted to tear myself to pieces.
Most cutters’ ability to cope with life is overwhelmed by powerful emotions or extreme pressure that seem too intense to bear. Jenessa said she’s been a cutter for 7 years. I was sexually abused by someone very close to me. I started cutting because I always thought that what happened was my fault. I have never gotten over it so I used to cope with any problem I had by cutting. Taking it out on myself was so much easier than figuring out what to do emotionally.
When these emotions aren’t dealt with, tension builds up. Cutting can feel like a release of this tension. Rachel said cutting is a way for her to deal with her pain: It’s an escape from reality. No matter how temporary it is it’s a relief to escape all the pain.
Most cutters struggle to express their pain to others. Without the words or outlet to express their emotional pain, they give in to a short cut, a destructive physical expression toward them self. Laken said cutting is her first reaction when she feels disappointment or difficulty. When I fail a test, when I get in a fight, when I am called a mean name, or when anything bad happens the first thought is to cut. It is horrible and I always fall back on it.
The physical pain has a calming effect on her more agonizing emotional pain. Cutting is the treating of one pain with another. A cutter’s life is one of choices between one kind of pain or a much greater one. Amy said: It feels good when you have physical pain to take away from your emotional pain.
The problem with cutting, as with any addiction, is that by harming yourself you never really are able to confront your deepest feelings. Perhaps that is you. You are using cutting to try to cope with an even deeper emotional pain. It is hard to say no to something that feels so good. But in the end, cutting will fail you every time.
Don’t lose hope. There are healthy ways to deal with your emotions and to stop cutting for good.
Please continue to send me your stories. They are awesome and very helpful to me.
Check out these helpful resources on self-harm from TheHopeLine